Top Ten Tips: Getting a Pay Rise and Promotion

SA Statistics: Underpaid and Undervalued


“I was looking for a job and then I found a job and Heaven knows, I’m miserable now” (The Smiths, 1984).

 I first heard this song in 2007 from my former boss in the UK – a huge Smiths fan. The irony of this line stuck with me being in recruitment – it’s very dreary (Morrissey usually is) and hugely negative but made me think that sometimes the grass may not be greener. If you’re seeking progression or a pay rise, often the ideal is to get it in your current role.

A key gripe among job seekers is the feeling of being underpaid and undervalued. 2 of the 3 top reasons candidates look to leave are remuneration and discord with a manager or colleague. Less specifically this looks at employees feeling underpaid and undervalued.

If this applies to you then you need to look at what you want to achieve. Do you want to achieve career and salary progression with your current employer or is there an underlying issue with their EVP? Basically ask yourself if the problem is easily fixed – if not, then explore opportunities. I often see unhappy employees leave months after gaining a promotion because the underlying issues were not addressed.

If you want to progress with your current employer then here are a few steps to gaining the promotion and pay rise:

1) Don’t be Bitter

No one automatically deserves a promotion by simply showing up – nothing is owed to you other than super and holiday pay so being negative will get you nowhere.

2) Add Value

As per previous blog, both companies and employees need to add value to progress. You need to be able to demonstrate this and prove you make a worthwhile contribution.

3) Punctuality

If you take long lunch breaks and are seen as last in and first to leave then you’re lucky to still be in the job. You certainly won’t be eligible for a promotion if you do this – it’ll look like you either don’t take the job seriously or you don’t care.

4) Promoters

Similar to point 2 but make your manager and colleagues recognise your value add (subtly!!)

5) Do your job well

Sounds simple and it is! If you’re good at what you do you’ll be entitled to rewards – Actions make words speak louder!

6) Help Others

Focusing on point 4 it’s the old “Team Player” chestnut” – it gains you advocates and demonstrates your skills.

7) Book a Private Meeting with your Manager

There’s a time and a place to discuss your career – so put time aside with your manager. Try not to disclose the topic beforehand but don’t be too cryptic if asked! This meeting is key; its where you demonstrate what you have done and why you deserve the rewards. This part is about recognition so make sure you recognise your achievements!

8) Narcissus (with Armbands)

Don’t be too egotistic but this is your chance to list the great things you’ve achieved – your Value-Add. You’re quantifying success here. You need to show how good you are!

9) Are you threatening me?

Don’t issue an ultimatum – they usually backfire! Put your case forward and ask their thoughts. “What would I have to do to deserve a promotion?” or “How much do you value what I’ve achieved?”.

10) Look the part

Make sure you look good, dress smartly and live up to company values. If you’re smiling and always happy to help, your boss will value you. Appearances are not deceiving!

It’s all about being strategic. Think Julia Gillard…but with less coup d’état and more demonstration of why you deserve recognition!


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